Saturday, October 29, 2011

knittin' the mittens

"Snow White" mitties
Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
Not actually mittens, but around here we do call them "mitties".
I knit, though I am not the very best knitter in the world, or even on Etsy. I hate to admit it, but I find knitting a bit tedious. I decided to knit something to sell, though, because I found this fun yarn spun with strands of iridescent sparkles and thought they would make excellent fingerless gloves. I wear mitties almost constantly in the cool weather to help keep my junky hands and wrists warm, but, though I love white I just can't wear it because I work with my hands.
So, here are the mitties that I designed to use this pretty yarn. You can't see much of the sparkle here, but it's there!
The good thing about knitting for the shop is that I can watch TV while I knit (not so much while I sew, I usually listen to music instead). These mitties were knit to the accompaniment of Star Trek the Next Generation, the Tudors, and a strangely surreal anime show called "Princess Tutu".

Saturday, October 15, 2011

detail oriented

I like to try new techniques. In fact, I have a massive backlog of interesting details I want to incorporate and handwork I want to try out. A lot of designs end up being inspired by the simple fact that I want to try something new and different. I have wanted to try this style of quilting (which is called "trapunto" these days but was called "Italian quilting" back in the day) for years, and finally decided on a garment I could use to experiment with. I had this wool suiting around the house already and I designed this little vest pattern last year for the Organ Grinder vest. I've decided that it is just about the perfect thing to try out interesting fabric manipulation and embellishment techniques, because it is relatively small and is made up of two basic and simple shapes. Interesting surface design benefits from simple garment construction for practical reasons but it's also a good idea to limit garment complications to keep it from looking too "busy".

Anyway. Here I used a simple double-arch shape (which reminds me of gothic architecture) and threaded black cording underneath the ivory colored fabric, to create a subtle pattern. The finished product reminds me of scrimshaw and wedding cakes. It also oddly reminds me of the church my husband's family belongs to, as they use that peaked arch shape in just about everything in the place.

In a related note, I love craft books from the 70s. While there are lots of lovely craft books out these days (to go along with our great crafting revolution) the last great resurgence of crafting was in the 1970s. That is the era our moms were inspired by, and those are certainly the books I grew up with. In my adulthood I have actually gone to considerable lengths to acquire old copies of some of my favorites. I absolutely love the Sunset Soft Toys and Dolls book ( I found it used through Amazon marketplace). I also use a sturdy old copy (that I stole from my mom, sorry mom!) of the Golden Hands embroidery book for a lot of my embroidery, quilting, and surface design inspirations. I think these two books did more to inspire me to sew and create than anything else in my childhood.